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Graphic Design Trends to Keep an Eye On

By: Claire Jones, Creative Content Producer

Every year and season marks a new set of techniques, styles, imagery, font choices, and illustrations that take the creative world by storm. But sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the times. It’s important to keep up with trends as a graphic designer to make sure your inspiration and ideas are new and fresh. To give an insight into what’s trending in design today, I will feature some trends that you might consider.

Social Justice Slideshows

You’ve probably seen these plastered across your Instagram feed. Social justice is a hot topic, and Instagram carousels can help increase accessibility to others about critical, important information. Vox calls it “PowerPoint activism.”

Via Vox

One of the most well known accounts following this trend is @so.informed. Jess Natale’s Instagram posts feature bold and trendy typography, talking points on each slide, and accompanying graphics, whether that be pictures or illustrations. Organizations like the ACLU are also hopping on this trend, hoping to provide a quick glimpse of information into current social justice topics around the United States and the world. In a world where millions of people get their news from social media, these slideshows are a great way to make information more digestible and to reach a wide audience. But, if you choose to make one, be sure to provide context and sources for your information—and inform your followers that what they are seeing is only limited. They should be sure to do their own research, too.

Illustrations and Graphics

Illustrative, abstract line art and corporate vector graphics are plastered everywhere you look—and can be seen from every company—from fashion, lifestyle, and corporate brands. These can add a sense of warmth and personality to your brand and are a nice way to deviate from plain text or photographs.

Via Envato Elements

Via Summerizze Illustrations on Behance

Retro Aesthetics

Y2K & Lo-Fi

Y2K looks are taking the fashion world by storm–and they’re taking over graphic design, too. You can expect to see flowy pastel gradients (especially pinks and purples), pixel graphics, and pops of neon. This article from Vogue highlights celebrities you might know repping their 20 year old or inspired pieces. Check out the Twitter account @y2k_aesthetic and the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute for more inspiration.

Luna Studio via Creative Market

Ever heard of lo-fi? You might be familiar with the iconic lo-fi hip hop girl on YouTube, pictured studying with her cat as lo-fi beats are played live 24/7.

Via YouTube

This trend and aesthetic evokes a warm, cozy feeling, perfect for staying inside with a blanket or catching some rays on a warm, sunny day. Much like the Y2K aesthetic, this trend features grainy gradients, retro iconography, and dreamy, slice-of-life atmospheres.

Via The Dieline

How about these retro soda shop-inspired cans recently released by Pepsi?

Via Studio Sun at Creative Market

Try incorporating this funky font into a product design or a poster. Hand-drawn retro illustrations are also growing in popularity. Think of the game Cuphead:

Via Nintendo

For more inspiration, I recommend following AIGA Eye on Design, Creative Market, The Dieline, and following your favorite creatives on social media.

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